Sunday, January 13, 2013

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Looking back at 2012 at Science Fiction Trails, where I am publisher, we put out two issues of our magazine instead of the usual one copy. We also published two western horror anthologies, Low Noon and Gunslingers & Ghost Stories.

A few thoughts on the baffling world of selling books. We have never sold a single book in Canada. Not one. Here in the USA, Indie bookstores, even those specializing in horror, will not carry “Weird westerns.” They just cannot seem to deal with it. Part of the overall problem: too many books chasing too few readers.

Overall, the quality of story submissions to SF Trails is extremely poor, the worst I have ever seen. There are still good stories out there, but they seem to be an ever smaller piece of the pie. Half of the stories that come in do not even have any science fiction in them at all. Then there are the ones that are so poorly written that it’s depressing to read them. I realize we all have our green period of learning the ropes, but I am regularly getting stuff where I can’t even figure what the plot is, if there is one. Couple that with generic characters that seldom even have a name and the process often leaves me wanting to hold a cross up to my computer since it seems these wretched submissions must be coming from hell itself. I cannot stress this enough. The crop of stories last year was the worst I have ever seen in over 20 years of editing. There are people spewing stories out who have no idea what they are doing.

So, what happens now? Plans can change, but I only plan to put out the annual issue of Science Fiction Trails this year. I no longer plan to do any anthologies or special issues. That’s not because of poor story quality, but because the books take up a lot of time and simply do not sell well enough to bother with. Couple this with the fact that the contracts for Six Guns Straight From Hell expire at mid year and that will mean our best selling product will go out of print. So, we’ll be a smaller presence. That’s not all bad. It will allow me to focus more on our flagship product, the magazine.

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